Tag Archives: Walk This Way

Rocks In The Attic #112: Aerosmith – ‘Live! Bootleg’ (1978)

Rocks In The Attic #112: Aerosmith - ‘Live! Bootleg’ (1978)This album is overlong. The performances are sloppy. The mix is pretty murky. But I love it.

Of all of the Aerosmith albums that I initially bought when I got turned onto them, this one represented the ‘way in’ to their back catalogue. Other than 1980’s Greatest Hits and 1991’s Pandora’s Box, there wasn’t really any other comprehensive Aerosmith compilations available in the early 90s when I started to listen to them. Now it’s gone the other way and I believe that when I last counted, their (officially released) compilations and live albums were just about to overtake their count of studio albums. That’s a pretty bad statistic, but proof that record companies will plunder and plunder an artist’s back catalogue, endlessly re-releasing the same songs over and over again, as long as there’s a willing public to buy them.

In terms of chronology, this 1978 release comes between 1977’s Draw The Line and 1979’s Night In The Ruts – in their only fallow year (up to this point they had released a studio album every year since their 1973 debut). If Draw The Line didn’t signal the end of the band due to their over-reliance on drugs, this surely did.

Aside from the hits (Walk This Way, Sweet Emotion, Dream On, Back In The Saddle), the set covers a heap of decent album tracks which wouldn’t see the light on Greatest Hits and in most cases would have to wait until Pandora’s Box to get the attention they deserved.

But the real treasures of the album are those live tracks not recorded in stadiums and arenas like the majority of the material. There’s Last Child, recorded in a Boston Club; a stunning cover of Come Together, recorded at the band’s rehearsal space; and in I Ain’t Got You and Mother Popcorn, two covers showcasing the band’s R&B influences, recorded for a radio performance in 1973 when promoting their first album. I have that 1973 Paul’s Mall performance in its entirety on CD – a fantastic set – and a true live bootleg album, unlike this one which is CBS Records’ attempt to capitalise on the trend of professional-sounding bootleg albums in the late 70s.

There’s just one more reason I love this album: the photos on the gatefold showing Joe Perry playing his red BC Rich Bich –  truly awesome, and in terms of body-shape, the best looking guitar I’ve ever seen.

Hit: Walk This Way

Hidden Gem: Mother Popcorn

Rocks In The Attic #100: Aerosmith – ‘Toys In The Attic’ (1975)

Rocks In The Attic #100: Aerosmith - ‘Toys In The Attic’ (1975)It only seems apt that as I covered Aerosmith’s Rocks as the 50th entry in this series, I would need to do Toys In The Attic as the 100th, completing the name of the blog which took inspiration from these two albums.

So the story goes that not long after I was first exposed to Aerosmith – via an Aerosmith music video weekend on MTV – I went on holiday with my parents to Cornwall. I had, by this time, bought Pump on CD – in fact, I think I bought it the following weekend after that MTV weekend, from the Our Price that used to be next to Boots on Market Street in Manchester.

These, however, were the days before CD players in cars had become commonplace. I think we travelled down to Cornwall with a taped copy of Pump playing on the car stereo. When we landed in Newquay, the first thing we did after checking in at the Bed & Breakfast, was to walk down the road and pop into the little adjoining row of shops. In that row of shops was a second-hand record store, and in the row of tapes on the counter was a second-hand copy of Toys In The Attic. I snapped it up, and alongside Pump – which I’d probably played too much on the journey down – Toys In The Attic became the soundtrack to that holiday.

To me, Toys In The Attic and Rocks are very much like Rubber Soul and Revolver – two back-to-back albums with a very high watermark, and indistinguishable enough to be double albums in their own right – hence Rocks In The Attic as the name of this blog (or I guess to take the song from Rocks, the alternative to this would be calling it Toys In The Cellar).

Of the two, I believe Rocks is the better album, but I prefer Toys In The Attic. It’s a little looser, and has a bit more light; whereas Rocks is the shadier, more serious of the two. Rocks really doesn’t let up, and you can almost hear the cocaine on it. Toys on the other hand, sounds like it was only made with the assistance of a joint or 200.

I love this album so much, I have it on CD twice – one of those being the 1994 collector’s edition gold disc version from Sony’s Mastersound 20-Bit Super Bit Mapping Series; and I also have it on LP twice – one of those being a Japanese pressing with an Obi strip. I probably still have that worn-out copy on cassette that I picked up in Cornwall too.

Hit: Walk This Way

Hidden Gem: Big Ten Inch Record

Rocks In The Attic #81: Aerosmith – ‘Honkin’ On Bobo’ (2004)

Rocks In The Attic #81: Aerosmith - ‘Honkin’ On Bobo’ (2004)Aerosmith really know how to disappoint. When I first heard about this record – that it was going to be a back-to basics Blues record, produced by their old-time 70s producer Jack Douglas – I was so excited. After almost twenty years of trying to rewrite their past, and becoming a shadow of their former selves, this idea seemed to make sense. They’ve realised that their Geffen output was sub-par! They’re going back to their Blues influences! And just to make sure it all works, they’ve got Jack Douglas back on board to produce the record! What could go wrong?

This album is so bad it’s offensive. Everything sounds so clean and polished, they end up sounding like the resident jazz band on the Starship Enterprise. Any indication that they were going back to their roots was then completely swept aside when they went out on tour to support the album. The accompanying tour DVD – You Gotta Move – shows them getting massages and travelling to shows separately in private jets.

If there is one good thing to come out of all this, it’s the fact that they started playing their older material on tour. During their Geffen days they pretty much only played Geffen material live. When I first saw them touring Get A Grip in 1993, and then twice touring Nine Lives in 1997, they pretty much only played their Geffen singles, plus a few album tracks from the respective album they were touring, rounded off with an encore of their three big Columbia singles – Dream On, Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way. Since they reacquainted themselves with their older material for Honkin’ On Bobo, they now tend to play roughly a 65/35 split – with their older stuff still taking the minority – but at least they’re playing a decent amount of 70s material and not acting as though it doesn’t exist.

Hit: Baby Please Don’t Go

Hidden Gem: The Grind